There are patterns to love. It comes in many shapes and sizes.
Of course there’s what’s referred to as “puppy love.” The love of youth. Pure love that has not yet been soiled or splintered.
There is unrequited love, when the object of your affection does not share your feelings.
Love that is just a budding blossom, new and overwhelmingly sweet, but as yet not kissed by the sun.
Love is many things. It is many things to many people.
Some twist love into control and cruelty. This is love that is distorted. Misshapen.
There is the love of parent and child. When you hold that newborn for the very first time and feel this immeasurable love that can’t be broken. It is your duty to teach that child what love is, and what it is not.
“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.” – Helen Keller
There is the love that consumes you. When you can hardly wait to touch that person you love. And then later, there may come a time when you can’t bear for them to touch you.
The heat of that person’s “love” singes your skin. The scar left behind never lets you forget what that love said to you. What it became to you. What it tried to destroy in you.
There is love that drifts away like a dandelion blown into the wind. Somehow it creeps on tiny feet right out of your heart before you even think to miss it.
There are whispers of love, when you are as yet uncertain if it’s actually speaking to you. You listen intently for the footsteps to find their way back to you. Where it whispers sweet nothings in your ear.
Love can be a many splendored thing. It can also leave a bitter taste you were not prepared to swallow. But you must swallow it to move on, even if it chokes you.
“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” – Orson Welles
Love can be awkward and hapless.
And then there is love that burns so brightly it hurts your eyes to take it in. Then it is at its apex. And it an only diminish from there.
There is the Cinderella fantasy love that little girls dream about. The kind that includes white picket fences and a forever devotion.
But love is not supposed to hurt. Somehow everything changed when you weren’t watching. Or perhaps you were, but didn’t want to see it.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
There is the kind of love you must learn to resist. This is the devil of love. The one that walks around in sheep’s clothing and poison on its tongue. It sucks you in with pretty words and wraps its reptilian tail around your neck and squeezes the life out of you.
And even if you’re still left standing, you are broken. Your capacity for love has been damaged.
You bear the scars that never let you forget, not for a moment, that the love you embraced was poison. It changed colors right before your eyes, mocked you, tortured you and left you for dead.
You must beware those who don’t have the capacity to love. They are consumed with their own needs and can’t see beyond them. They will use you and abuse you, take what they want and cast you aside.
“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” – Buddha
What you must always keep in mind is that love is pure and unselfish. People are not. Those who are as twisted as the love they offered. And who could never hold a thing as fragile as love in their hand without squeezing the life out of it.
Listen to what your heart tells you. When it says run, run like the wind until there is so much distance that this love can no longer hurt you. Your heart will heal. It will bear the bruises but eventually it will heal.
That does not mean that you can’t love again. It just means that you soldiered through the war and came out alive. But damaged. And you will forever look at love through the filter of fear.